The Colony. Installment nine. Let's go.
Pretty mellow day off, featuring family time for the most of it. First thing this morning there was some smoke in the air, yet again, but thankfully that cleared up before lunch time thanks to a light breeze blowing in the right direction.
Remind me to share a picture of Max tomorrow. It's a good one.
We hogtie Patrick and Melina and drag them into my quarters. Robbie almost looks like he wants to give each of them a kick but we leave them on the floor untouched as we continue the search that I had begun before hearing those two yelling and pounding at my door.
Within minutes we have confirmed what I had already begun to suspect: everyone else is still locked in their rooms. Patrick, Melina, and Vassily are the only exceptions.
Which means Vassily is the only member of our crew whose location is currently unaccounted for.
"Do you think he's still in his quarters?" Robbie asks, his voice muffled by the breathing mask. It's difficult to read his expression with that thing on. He could be scared or excited. Both, probably.
"Seems like as good a place as any to look for him." I turn my head to look in the direction of his room but otherwise remain still. "You up for this?"
"He was going to kill me in my sleep." I don't know how true that is but I think that, for now, I need it to be true for him. "Yeah, I'm ready."
We move slowly, stopping to listen at the closed doors of the kitchen and showers and conference room. Just in case. When we reach the final corner that will take us the last twenty feet to the Commander's quarters we hesitate. Okay, I hesitate. Robbie bumps into me.
"Sorry," he whispers.
"Are uh... are you ready for this?"
Ready for what, exactly? Are we going to kill him? Is he armed? Are we waltzing straight into a trap?
My heart is racing as we tiptoe down the hall. I blink away sweat from my eyes, suddenly wishing I was carrying more than just a coil of rope. Weapon options are surprisingly limited when nearly everything is bolted down and you're packing as lightly as possible when departing your home planet.
Unless you're a traitorous Commander, that is. Then there's always room for extra equipment. Weapons, too?
Five feet to go. I'm about to tell Robbie to let me do the talking when the door to Vassily's quarters wooshes open. My heart feels like it tries to escape from my chest. My brain tells my body to raise my hands but I'm frozen in place. We are going to die. We are going to die. We are g-
"I don't think he's in here," Robbie says. Somehow he is standing in the doorway ahead of me. How did he get there? Shouldn't he be behind me?
"His breathing mask is gone." Robbie looks disappointed. "He could be anywhere."
"He could be... I'm an idiot." Robbie looks confused but before he can say anything more I speak the words I should have spoken precious minutes earlier. "Computer? Locate Commander Vassily please."
The nearest monitor lights up and moments later green text appears like magic.
Commander Vassily is no longer in the compound.